Satyam Patel

4 Aug 1932
14 Jan 2005
Social Worker
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Satyam Patel (Gujarati: સત્યમ્ પટેલ) (August 4, 1932 – January 14, 2005) was a social worker and activist for the cause of labourers, farmers, untouchables and religious unity in the western state of Gujarat in India.

Satyam Patel was born to Dr. Kishorbhai Patel and Maniben Patel in the city of Vadodara in Gujarat, India. He was the 4th of the seven children. His father, Dr. Kishorbhai Patel, was a pathologist to the state of Vadodara. He spent his childhood in many Indian cities, including Pune, Mumbai and Sojitra.

Satyam Patel started his career as a prominent leader of a student movement, called Maha Gujarat (Gujarati મહા ગુજરાતની લડત), demanding a separate state of Gujarat. The movement culminated in separation of the old state of Bombay into two states of Gujarat and Maharashtra on May 1, 1960 (The Labour Day). During the movement, he was a member of Praja Socialist Party (PSP) that was led by Jayprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia. As an ardent orator for the cause of Maha Gujarat, he was known as a fire eater, whose fiery speeches drew more crowd and attention than competing rallies of the then prime-minister Jawaharlal Nehru. After completing undergraduate degree in history, he studied law at Gujarat University and received LLB. Since then he permanently settled in the city of Ahmedabad.

In 1957, during his student movement years, he met and married, Prabhatshobha Majithia, with whom he had four children. Their marriage took place in the town of Nadiad, which also served as constituencies for his bids to the state and national legislative bodies.

After the formative years as a lawyer, Satyam Patel became a member of Indian National Congress, and went on to lead the Seva Dal (Volunteer Force) under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. He remained a close ally and fervent supporter of Indira Gandhi all through his life.

Under the umbrella of Seva Dal, he arranged many unity camps all throughout Gujarat encouraging participation of youth members of Hindu and Muslim communities. The camps allowed a chance for the youth to live for an extended period with one another, interact with one another and discover the similarities and differences amongst themselves; ultimately leading to better understanding and peace amongst people of different religious backgrounds.

Next, he was the General Secretary of local chapter of the United Nations. In 1988, he attended the General Assembly meeting of the UN on disarmament on behalf of India. He was also a prominent member of peace delegation to China to promote peace through cultural and economic exchanges. His follow-up work resulted in first high-level visit to China by Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime minister of India, opening a new page of peace talks between the two countries.

Late 1980 onwards, along with his wife Prabhatshobha (who is a physician), he took keen interest in promoting the Gandhian way of life by activities of the Pra-Yog Trust. The Pra-Yog Trust was established to further the work of Late Mr. V.P.Gidwani, who devoted all his life for scientific quest for alternative and natural cures for human ailments. The organization, housed at the Gandhi Ashram in the city of Ahmedabad, promotes simpler and healthier way of life through natural therapies and non-intrusive prevention techniques.

At the time of his death, he was the General Secretary of World Gujarati Society (Gujarati વિશ્વ ગુજરાતી સમાજ), ardently promoting the Gujarati culture amongst the Gujarati diaspora around the world. Also, on the home front, he was leading a fight for the poor farmers of Gujarat under the umbrella of Committee of Protesting Farmers (Gujarati કિસાન સંઘર્ષ સમિતિ).

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